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The Israeli film Lebanon was screened on Tuesday to an appreciative audience at the 66th Venice Film Festival. When the movie was over the crowd reportedly stood and applauded for a full 15 minutes. The film, which has been nominated for the Golden Bear award for best film and the Golden Lion award for best director, has garnered some international media attention and has been billed by Reuters as a "wrenching concentration of raw emotion" and "one of the most anti-heroic war movies ever made."
The claustrophobia-inducing film portrays the exploits of a four-man tank crew in the days following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The only view outside the tank throughout the film is through the cross-hairs of the gun barrel.
Lebanon, which is based on the experiences of its director Shmuel Maoz, follows on the heels of two other very successful movies recounting the horrors of battles north of the border. 2007's Beaufort was one of the final nominees for an Academy Award, as was Waltz with Bashir a year later. Lebanon could greatly enhance its chances of continuing the streak if it picks up a Golden Bear in Venice on Saturday.